It’s been an exhausting, rollercoaster season for the Miami Heat, who fought their way to earn the No. 6 seed going into the postseason, and the intense pressure seems to have gotten the better of team leader Jimmy Butler.
Just one day before the Heat’s playoff series starts against Milwaukee Bucks, The Athletic’s Shams Charania detailed how there’s been some serious tension between the five-time All-Star, the coaching staff, and his teammates throughout the year.
Charania said on May 21, “I’m told there has been very, very testy moments behind the scenes between Jimmy and that coaching staff, the roster at different points. And so, how they’ve been able to navigate that throughout the year — it’s transpired– and now they’re at a point where [the Heat] are on the uptake.”
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While Charania is called out for “snitching” on Butler, he believes that the turmoil Miami has worked through this season has now brought out the best in the franchise.
“They’re playing the best basketball of the season right now,” Charania continued. “You’re seeing a healthy Jimmy, a healthy Bam… you have a core that’s healthy. This is a lethal team. You saw what they did last year against Milwaukee.”
Charania also pointed out that Butler’s temper is not new news. “I think everyone who knows Jimmy Butler understands that he wears his heart on his sleeve, not afraid to let people know how he feels.”
Butler’s Agent Slammed Charania’s Report, ‘Shut the F*** Up’
After seeing Charania’s statement, Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, went off on the NBA Insider reporter.
Lee tweeted, “Shut the f*ck up you click bait, ambulance chasing, dirt bag piece of sh*t. No one has told you this because this is not reality. Go find someone’s assistant to text abt an MRI or some other human calamity you want to be 1st on. We are good over here.”
Butler himself has also spoken out about his prior issues with the team, more specifically, with head coach Erik Spoelstra.
“We got in a little predicament [Wednesday night], but it’s nothing new,” Butler said back in late April. “Everything’s not all good all the time. But we both want to win; we both have the same agenda. So I think that he’s helping me grow a tremendous amount, talking about leadership as a player and what to look for with my guys.”
Butler has been absolutely dominant this season. He’s averaged 21.5 points, 7.1 assists, and 6.9 boards per game.
Coach Spoelstra Admits This Year Has Been ‘Really Challenging’ For Both Him & Butler
Spoelstra exuded Heat culture when asked about his altercation with Butler. Coach Spo admitted how this season has been particularly rough on everyone and remained focused on the positives.
“This year has presented both of us with a much different challenge than last year,” Coach Spo said. “We’re dealing with a different kind of season and a lot of different adversities. That’s been really challenging. I think we both have grown.”
“[Butler] has such vast experience and a great IQ and feel for the game, and how to manage a game and manipulate a game, and to do that on both ends,” Spoelstra continued. “One, it’s been a joy to watch and to experience that. All the great players in the history of this game, especially the ones that I’ve coached, have a real great mind for the game, as well. They compete at the highest level, but with a deep level of understanding of how to win.”